Lord Phillips, Windsor Castle, and last days in London

By: Ashley Waring (JD, ’15)

Big Ben

Ashley in front of Big Ben

My last week in London was bittersweet.  Although, I enjoyed myself in London and I will miss it, I missed home a little bit more.  During the last week, the class attended the annual Order of the Garter and visited Parliament.  At Parliament I finally got a closer look at Big Ben.  It was very impressive.

Eye Contact with the Queen

Eye Contact with the Queen

The class and I had the opportunity to meet with the former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Lord Nicholas Phillips of Worth Matravers.  He invited the class to his home and we had finger foods and drinks.  When he invited the class to his home we all wore business casual attire because we didn’t know what to expect.  When we arrived to his home, his wife wore a beautiful sundress and he wore a Hawaiian shirt with khakis and they offered us food, beer and wine. Continue reading »

U.K. Supreme Court and King’s College in London

By: Ashley Waring (JD, ’15) 

Students inside the U.K. Supreme Court

Students inside the U.K. Supreme Court

This is the second to last week in London and I am enjoying myself 100%.  The class visited the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Professor Palmiter and I visited the law school of King’s College.

During our visit to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, we were given a tour of the Court, listened to oral arguments, and, after the oral arguments, we met with the Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, one of the justices of the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court was established in October 2009 and assumed the functions of the House of Lords.  The Lords from the former House of Lords simply moved across the street into the Court’s new location.  Well, that’s how “the move” was described by Dr. Roderick Munday, a University of Cambridge professor the class met a few weeks ago.  Unlike the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom may not strike down legislation and must rule on cases that are consistent with the European Union (EU) laws and the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

UK Supreme Court Symbol

UK Supreme Court Symbol

Trying to maintain consistency with the EU laws and the ECHR has proven to be difficult because sometimes the two are inconsistent with each other.  The case that was being argued before the Court concerned whether prisoners should be given the right to vote and if the disenfranchisement of prisoners is inconsistent with the laws of the EU and the rights under the ECHR.  Unfortunately, the EU laws and the rights under the ECHR display conflicting answers to these questions.  When we spoke with Lord Kerr, he said that unlike the U.K. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of the United States is so simple because they only have to remain consistent with one document, the United States Constitution.  This case will be a landmark decision in the U.K. and, because of its difficultly, I must admit that I am not envious of Lord Kerr at all.  A decision is expected to be made within the next few months. Continue reading »

English Law Schools vs. American Law Schools

By: Ashley Waring (JD, ’15) 

Inside View of the Temple Church

Going to law school in England is 100% different than going to law school in the United States.  Unlike the U.S., English law school graduates are required to choose whether they want to become a solicitor – lawyer performs all of the typical American lawyer duties, but litigates in court– or a barrister – a lawyer who is solicited by the solicitor (see what they did there?) to litigate in court.  Those students who wish to be solicitors must take several full time courses that can last several years depending on the course.  Those who want to become barristers must apply to be a member of one of the four temples in England to become trained in litigation.

Rounded part of the Temple Church

Also, unlike the U.S., English students who desire to go to law school are not required to attend an undergraduate college before attending law school.  English students may attend law school once they graduate from high school.  In my opinion, England’s pathway to law school has both its advantages and disadvantages.  One advantage is that students save time because they do not have to spend four years in college. Not only do students save time, but they save money as well.  Instead of spending thousands of dollars to attend an undergraduate university for four or more years and to attend law school for another three years, English students only need to pay for law school.  Average tuition to attend law school in England is very inexpensive. It rounds out to be about ¼ of what the average law student pays annually! Continue reading »

First Impressions of London

By: Ashley Waring (JD, ’15) 

IMAG1079When I first arrived in London I did not know what to expect.  I have never been to London (let alone anywhere in Europe) before, so I was excited to explore and experience this new culture.  Friends and family informed me that London was a huge city and that I would have so much fun, so I was eager to see if they were right.  All in all, as I was heading to the Worrell house, I realized that London is similar to New York City.  It has its city center and the outskirts consisted of suburbs.  Each neighborhood had  grocery stores, restaurants and various sources of entertainment.  In a way, I felt comforted, like I was home and felt as if I would not be completely lost in this foreign city.

IMAG1096Immediately, I noticed that London has a “do it yourself” attitude, but not to the extent of New York City.  I hired a taxi driver and instead of the driver carrying my bags to the car and loading them, I did.  When my classmates and I went to the local pubs, unlike in America, we sat ourselves and we had to order and pay for our food and drinks at the bar.  We received our drinks from the bar, but the waiter brought the food out to our table.  I am not saying that there is no customer service or hospitality in London, but those were the two things that really stuck out to me.  Lastly, to my surprise, you do not tip the waiters, waitresses or bartenders here.  I learned this the hard way because when I left a tip on the table at the pub, the waitress thought I had accidentally dropped my money on the table. I informed her that that was her tip and she had the most confused look on her face.  I told her that we tip waitresses in America and she says that she, nor her coworkers, receives tips from customers because their hourly rate is not as low as American waitresses so they do not work for tips. I told her that I was sorry and she informed me that it was fine and that it was a good thing because we both learned something new that day. Continue reading »

Summer Abroad Bloggers: 2013

By: International Programs Office 

The London program has begun! The Venice and Vienna programs will begin in just a few short weeks. Last summer, we introduced a new part of our blog: Summer Abroad Bloggers. We hope you enjoyed their entries and photos from abroad as much as we did.

We are excited to announce three new Summer Abroad Bloggers who will be writing about their experiences from Europe.

    Writing from London…                Writing from Venice…                    Writing from Vienna…        

Ashley Waring, JD, '14

Ashley Waring, JD, ’14

Elizabeth Binion, JD, '15

Elizabeth Binion, JD, ’15

Al Suarez, JD, '15

Al Suarez, JD, ’15

Each student will be writing blog entries about once a week during their program (London will take place May-June, and both Venice and Vienna will take place in July). We hope you enjoy reading about their study abroad journeys and viewing pictures from across the pond!

Be sure to follow our Study Abroad Facebook page to get updates on when each new blog entry is posted! Like us here.


Royal Garter Ceremony

By: Elizabeth Vance (JD, ’14)

Elizabeth Vance and Cat Booher at the Royal Garter Ceremony at Windsor Castle

I’m Elizabeth and I’m guest blogging about the AMAZING experience that five of us here in London got to have this week!

Any idea what a fascinator is? I didn’t before this trip- it’s one of those little headband hats that you see British women wearing in magazines at classy events. And this week I got to wear one. In public. Without looking goofy. Because this week five of us were lucky enough to get to go to the Royal Garter Ceremony at Windsor Castle! Basically the Knights of the Garter are members of the highest chivalric ranks in the UK. There are only a handful of them and in order to initiate a new member, an old one has to die. So basically it’s a super exclusive group populated by most members of the Royal Family and other important people in Britain. Continue reading »

Field trips, the English Supreme Court, and punting

Christ College at Oxford

By: Meredith Hearn (JD, ’14)

After not having been on a field trip since high school, I am happy to report that field trips are back and better than ever.   Every Monday and Thursday, Wake law students have had the opportunity to travel outside the classroom and obtain first hand insight into both comparative constitutional law and international human rights legislation.  During our brief time in London, we have been fortunate to visit Parliament, meet with the Chief Justice of England’s Supreme Court and his judicial assistants, hear oral arguments in the Supreme Court, visit the Inns of Court, and travel to both Oxford and Cambridge for lectures.

While the field trips were interesting in their own right, I think the best part of studying in a foreign country is hearing a different perspective on topics common to both cultures. It was not until this trip that I realized how unique and different (for better or worse) our American system of government is from other countries around the world.  This was especially apparent after our field trip to England’s Supreme Court. For example, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, like that of the United States, is the highest appellate court.  However, the similarities end there.

Wake law group at the British Supreme Court

Perhaps the biggest difference between the U.S. Supreme Court and England’s Supreme Court is history.  Put simply, the Supreme Court of England has a very brief history.  Before England’s Supreme Court was created in 2009, the ultimate judicial authority was vested in the House of Lords in Parliament.  Another fundamental difference between the two Supreme Courts is that the Supreme Court of England cannot strike down legislation approved by Parliament, a feature of the American legal system considered to be a necessary check against legislative and executive in our American system. Continue reading »

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

By: Meredith Hearn (JD, ’14)

Queens Diamond Jubilee Emblem

I could not have picked a better time to be a Wake student in London.  With last year’s Royal Wedding, the Diamond Jubilee, and the upcoming Olympics, this wonderful city is in the spotlight and not disappointing one bit.  This past weekend, we were lucky enough to experience the excitement of the Diamond Jubilee – a celebration of Elizabeth II’s sixty-year reign as the Queen of England.  Crowned in 1953 when she was only 25, the Queen is now one of the longest reigning monarchs in England’s history, second only to Queen Victoria.

The Queen’s Barge at the Diamond Jubilee floatilla

To culminate the Diamond Jubilee, there was much pageantry this weekend.  Being slightly obsessed with the Royal Family (or maybe just Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate…), I did not want to miss this once in a lifetime celebration.  On Sunday, several Wake students braved London’s cold and misty weather to stake out spots along the banks of the Thames to watch the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the river.  Although we shivered collectively in the cold for several hours waiting for the pageant to begin, it was well worth the wait, because the flotilla was amazing.  Consisting of 1,000 boats from around the world, the centerpiece being the Royal Barge featuring the Queen and her family, all I can say is that England knows how to throw one impressive parade.

Continue reading »

The Inns of Court and British Lawyers

By: Meredith Hearn (JD, ’14)

A group of WFU Law students in the Temple Church at the Inns of Court

Lovely, brilliant, clever.  Perhaps it is just the charming accents, but these words sound so much more elegant and civilized than their American counterparts like “cool” or “smart.” Although I have been enamored with English accents and language ever since I first watched Mary Poppins as a child, and I have continued to fall in love with its peculiarities many times since, after only three days of living at the Wake Forest’s Worrell House in London, it is clear that my initial impression was correct – the English have a way with words. Continue reading »

Introducing: Summer Abroad Bloggers

We are excited to announce that three WFU Law students who are participating in one of our summer abroad programs will be documenting their experience on our very own blog. We have one student blogger for each of our programs in London, Venice and Vienna. All three students have finished their first year of law school at WFU School of Law, and will be incoming second year students this fall.

     Writing from London…                 Writing from Venice…                Writing from Vienna…         

Meredith Hearn, JD '14

Alex Braverman, JD '14

Brett Becker, JD '14


Each student will be writing blog entries about once a week during their program (London will take place May-June, and both Venice and Vienna will take place in July). We hope you enjoy reading about their study abroad journeys and viewing pictures from across the pond!

-International Graduate Programs Office